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Unread 04-25-2011, 06:28 PM
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Predictions Championship 2011: The End and a New Beginning

As we turn to the closing chapter in the official season of LogoMotion, we open a new chapter in FIRST's championship event history. Not counting the formative years or the brief stop in Houston, St. Louis will become the third real home for the FRC Championship in its 20 year history. Without a doubt, the 2011 Championship should be one to kick off FIRST's tenure in St. Louis with a bang. To steal a page from the NHL, History Will Be Made.

The lights are on, the field is set, and it's time to compete. It takes 6 weeks to create a machine. Years to create a team. But only two minutes and fifteen seconds to create a legend.

Once again, why do work when someone has already done it for you? Thanks again to 1114 for their awesome spreadsheet.


The balance between divisions is not out of proportion compared to what we've seen in the past, but by no means is it perfect. Different metrics can lead to different evaluations of the divisions (for instance, Archimedes is tied for the most regional wins, yet has the lowest marks in average OPR by a notable margin). Rest assured, each division will be fully capable of sending three teams to Einstein that can win under the spotlight.

LogoMotion comes down to one factor more so than everything else. Execution. Even the most robust plans can go to waste in this game if they're not executed to near flawless perfection. Many of "the little things" can come back to bite you in this game. Taking an extra few seconds to score on top of an ubertube. Traffic in and out of the scoring area. The accuracy and range of human players. These factors are going to sway match after match in St. Louis, and the alliances that handle them the best are going to be the ones that end up on Einstein. But, as with any series as short as best-of-three, "bounces" and luck are going be a major factor. We saw it with 2041 and the goal mouth last year on Einstein. Who gets a popped tube stuck on their robot this year?

Especially as the competition wears on, strategies will be a little bit of "rock, paper, scissors." There won't always be "hard counters" to each strategy, but sometimes subtle changes in approach can exploit weaknesses in your opponents' plan and maximize your own strengths. There isn't going to be one best strategy for this game, though some of the alliance structures and what teams' are comfortable with will result in similar strategies on many occasions. With the exception of 2010, Championship usually plays closer to the "East Coast game" than other regional variations of play. With the move to the "Gateway to the West," it will be curious to see if the variation in play follows away from the Atlantic as well. If it does, that will mean a little less direct-defense and more 3-scorer based alliances. However, there are going to be variations based on individual captains' strategies.

Many LogoMotion matches have almost taken place with the two alliances working "in parallel" to another, with little direct interaction between the two. Granted, there are many very obvious exceptions to this rule, and I think those "exceptions" are going to grow in the Gateway City. With more high level scorers and elimination round parity here than at any competition previous, the diminishing return on scoring is going to play a bigger factor than ever before. While the ubertube-laden top rows are worth bundles of points, the middle and lower rows are worth progressively less and less. Getting an extra couple tubes up is not going to offset a difference in the minibot races or ubertubes in the eliminations. The teams that realize, and utilize effectively, this fact can hold a definite advantage on Saturday afternoon. It won't be quite as a apparent with the bigger differences in quality of machines during the qualifications, which may put many teams into a comfort zone in terms of strategy and style of play as they head into the afternoon tournament, but finding ways to reduce your opponents' score might be more effective than purely running up your score in the eliminations. Not an 100% blitzkrieg defensive strategy, but a balanced approach utilizing each aspect of the game to its potential.

Ultimately, I'm looking for creativity and consistency from the winning alliance. They will have to be creative enough to counter their opponents' attempts to thwart them and consistent enough to survive the bumps in the road. Which alliance will have the guts to risk a penalty to grab their needed tube from the edge of their opponents' feeding lane to complete a key logo? Who will effectively outmaneuver their opponents' attempts to keep them from deploying their minibot? Which team, knowing that they're fourth place in the minibot race, will score the extra tube before heading to the tower? Who's human player will snipe past the opponent's midfield traffic to land tubes inches away from their robot in the scoring zone?

Only time holds the answers. And it's going to be one heck of a ride to find them.

Each division will have it's own prediction thread, but here's a layout of how they will work. "Tips", "locks", "dark horses", and "sleepers" will be named for each division. In this context a tip is a team to watch, with a solid chance of going deep. A lock is a team that's guaranteed to do well, with a 50% chance or better of making the divisional finals. A dark horse is a team that has played very well all year but hasn't generated a lot of attention and stands a strong chance to surprise a lot of people. Sleepers are teams that have shown flashes of brilliance but haven’t been able to put it all together yet, but have some potential to shine at Championship if they can play well.

Right now, there aren't enough ballots to complete a meaningful Top 25, so unfortunately, that won't be going up tonight. We'll see if more of the experts turn them in the next day or two, and hopefully some public pressure will encourage them to do so.

Last edited by Looking Forward : 04-26-2011 at 09:43 AM.
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Unread 04-25-2011, 06:32 PM
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Re: Predictions Championship 2011: The End and a New Beginning

Though - one may note - that if they are shining in Atlanta, they may be a bit far afield.
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Unread 04-25-2011, 06:35 PM
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Re: Predictions Championship 2011: The End and a New Beginning

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Though - one may note - that if they are shining in Atlanta, they may be a bit far afield.
Nice catch. That part was lifted straight out of my thread from last year and obviously wasn't caught.
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Unread 04-25-2011, 06:35 PM
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Re: Predictions Championship 2011: The End and a New Beginning

Nice to see you back, Looking Forward.

I missed you.
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Unread 04-25-2011, 06:37 PM
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Re: Predictions Championship 2011: The End and a New Beginning

I've been looking forward to this for days now. Pun intended.
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Unread 04-25-2011, 07:10 PM
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Re: Predictions Championship 2011: The End and a New Beginning

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I've been looking forward to this for days now. Pun intended.
Co-signed. Much as I miss the regional-by-regional analysis, I'm always eager to read whatever Looking Forward concocts for Championship.
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Unread 04-25-2011, 07:18 PM
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Re: Predictions Championship 2011: The End and a New Beginning

I just sent everyone on the robotics section of my buddy list "PREDICTIONS"
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Unread 04-26-2011, 02:46 PM
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Re: Predictions Championship 2011: The End and a New Beginning

i waited all year for a looking forward thread and it never came this year. whoever you are LF, im glad youre back, and i cant wait to read the division predictions. welcome back
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Unread 04-26-2011, 07:15 PM
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Re: Predictions Championship 2011: The End and a New Beginning

I may be jumping a little ahead, but my prediction for Einstein's finals will be Newton vs. Galileo. Some of the teams in those divisions are absolutely phenomenal, especially Newton.

Also, your little bit about the match strategies wearing down to "rock, paper, scissors": I think you're absolutely right. Even during regionals, chance had a lot to do with winning. Majority of the regionals had to have a tie breaker match, ask anyone from the Buckeye regional. 781 and 1559's alliances could have gone at it all day with no clear winner. I do expect to see some awesome matches nonetheless, I am really pumped.
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Unread 04-26-2011, 07:26 PM
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Re: Predictions Championship 2011: The End and a New Beginning

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Originally Posted by Robby Unruh View Post
I may be jumping a little ahead, but my prediction for Einstein's finals will be Newton vs. Galileo. Some of the teams in those divisions are absolutely phenomenal, especially Newton.

Also, your little bit about the match strategies wearing down to "rock, paper, scissors": I think you're absolutely right. Even during regionals, chance had a lot to do with winning. Majority of the regionals had to have a tie breaker match, ask anyone from the Buckeye regional. 781 and 1559's alliances could have gone at it all day with no clear winner. I do expect to see some awesome matches nonetheless, I am really pumped.
newton and galileo face off in the semis on Einstein, but the winner of that set of matches will definitely be tough to beat.
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Unread 04-26-2011, 07:33 PM
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Re: Predictions Championship 2011: The End and a New Beginning

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newton and galileo face off in the semis on Einstein, but the winner of that set of matches will definitely be tough to beat.
Still don't know why they don't do round robin on Einstein. Each team plays three (or maybe even one?) against the other divisions, the top two move onto a best-of-three finals.
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Unread 04-26-2011, 07:38 PM
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Re: Predictions Championship 2011: The End and a New Beginning

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Still don't know why they don't do round robin on Einstein. Each team plays three (or maybe even one?) against the other divisions, the top two move onto a best-of-three finals.
The closing ceremonies are run too long as is. Add in the complications of a round robin tournament would drag things out even more.

While I would love this, it might not be that practical.
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Unread 04-26-2011, 08:18 PM
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Re: Predictions Championship 2011: The End and a New Beginning

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Originally Posted by George A. View Post
The closing ceremonies are run too long as is. Add in the complications of a round robin tournament would drag things out even more.
If each team plays every other team once in the round robin, there would be 6 matches for the round robin part. Then the two alliances with the best record then play best 2 of 3 for the championship.

The biggest advantage of this system is everyone is guaranteed 3 matches on Einstein (up from 2 under the current system). Since these games often play out like rock-paper-scissors, it allows each of the alliances a chance to show off all their strategies. The alliances that have made it to Einstein have worked hard and deserve the chance to show everything they have, in front of the entire audience. It can be very disappointing to go out there and lose two quick matches and be done.

Another advantage is that this might make scheduling easier for FIRST. Under the current system, there are a minimum of 6 matches to play and a maximum of 9. With the round robin plan, there are a minimum of 8 matches, and a maximum of 9, which should make things more consistent year to year and easier to plan.

Last edited by Joe Ross : 04-26-2011 at 08:26 PM.
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Unread 04-26-2011, 08:29 PM
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Re: Predictions Championship 2011: The End and a New Beginning

Thanks,
I always look forward to your commentary each year, though I am waiting for you to stick your neck out with some predictions.

I volunteer in the Media Center at the Championships, so I need to keep track of each of the divisions and help to prepare releases that list results and tell stories.

I believe that an effective defense will make the difference in the eliminations and on Einstein. Littering tubes in feeding lanes and blocking minibot deployment alignment.
Watch for the team with the deploying wings (can't remember the number, but they had a YouTube video) that can prevent tube scoring to make a difference.

If nothing else, just watch 177 Bobcats get picked again as a lucky charm and get their third championship. They have great drivers and effective strategies. Their upset win last year was no accident.

There, that is MY prediction.

Everybody have safe travel and a great time in a wonderful city.
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Unread 04-26-2011, 09:45 PM
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Re: Predictions Championship 2011: The End and a New Beginning

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Originally Posted by Joe Ross View Post
The biggest advantage of this system is everyone is guaranteed 3 matches on Einstein (up from 2 under the current system). Since these games often play out like rock-paper-scissors, it allows each of the alliances a chance to show off all their strategies. The alliances that have made it to Einstein have worked hard and deserve the chance to show everything they have, in front of the entire audience. It can be very disappointing to go out there and lose two quick matches and be done.
I like it, it would be fun to see all the matchups and the finals would be higher quality if the best 2 alliances are there for all 3 finals matches. There is no seeding going in (like 1-8 on divisions) so round robin makes more sense than arbitrary matchups. I see a few cons
- If ties are common in a certain game, it might come down to odd tiebreakers for 3 alliances with the same number of points.
- It would be weird to see an alliance that is mathematically eliminated compete on Einstein. The last round robin match might be skewed (cant play last 2 at the same time either like World Cup).
-No counter strategies in Semis. It is always fun to see an alliance switch it up after a defeat. Still will happen in Epic Finals.
-Tougher on the scouts. Hard enough to gather data on another field while you are in an elim run. Now you have to do all 3.
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